Open Collective
Open Collective
KEFC 2022 Year-End Update (+ A Bit About Our History)
Published on December 18, 2022 by Troy Ellen Dixon

What did you accomplish during 2022? How did you use money?

Through a supplemental grant to Radio Kingston (a non-profit, non-commercial platform) from the NoVo Foundation, administered through the Radio Kingston Community Fund, KEFC was able to hire two independent contractors and secure funds for general operating expenses.

One contractor coordinated the KEFC direct service initiative, a collaboration with local food partners to provide groceries and prepared meals to community members. The other contractor coordinated community outreach and communication.

General operating funds were used to support the work of the coordinators and, as needed, purchase of supplies to support local food partners.

What challenges did you face during 2022? What did your Collective learn? How did you change or grow?

While KEFC was formed in March 2020 to address the emerging crisis presented by the COVID pandemic – namely, the closure of public schools and the loss of access to essential resources they provide to children – many of us knew that unequal access to healthy food for people of any age was more than just a crisis in the current moment; it was, and continues to be, a social emergency that required rethinking how our community lives and works together. (During the PAUSE period, KEFC managed multiple distribution sites, sorted and packed food, scheduled deliveries, handled the food-request hotline, conducted outreach calls, scheduled more than 488 volunteers, and delivered meals and groceries.) This program, which was intended to be a limited emergency response, continued due to the pervasiveness of food insecurity, which always existed in this community.

By fall 2020, our direct service effort was not as large as it was at the height of our operation, which allowed us to expand our focus, in 2021 and 2022, to the factors that contribute to food insecurity: unstable and insufficient income, inadequate health care, race and gender discrimination, mental health and physical wellness, disability status, lack of transportation, and more. We sought to prioritize creation of a community where people can live and thrive. KEFC has never imagined that it is able to tackle these issues on its own, but we know how to collaborate, organize, and create collective action (thanks to the crucible of the pandemic) and we continue our work to leverage the inherent power of these activities to effect change.

With that in mind, KEFC sought to ensure the long-term sustainability of our operation. We researched and reviewed the pros/cons of organizing as a 501(c)(3) vs. fiscal sponsorship. After months-long discussions, we came to the agreement that fiscal sponsorship was the best path forward. In September, KEFC was accepted by OCF for fiscal sponsorship.

What are your plans for 2023? Anything exciting coming up?

Over the past 33 months, we have refined our organizational structure and the way in which we engage with and support the community. Key objectives for 2023 are:
  • Continue Direct Service effort
  • Enhance connection to community
    • Outreach to folks in the community to ensure that their voices (needs and wants) inform the decisions made and the actions taken by KEFC
    • Forge relationships with community organizations that operate in adjacent spaces (housing, transportation, employment, mental health, substance use, etc.) to coordinate initiatives
    • Strengthen existing KEFC partnerships to expand direct service capabilities via mutual aid
  • Build upon accomplishments of key working groups
    • Direct Service, e.g.
      • Source and provide access to culturally appropriate food for the community
      • Uplift existing work done in the community
      • Expand our volunteer network
      • Establish new/additional grocery partnership(s)
    • Production & Procurement, e.g.
      • Create and frame sustainable food donation, rescue, and redistribution model(s) as reparations (as well as land and resources)
      • Increase local fresh healthy food procurement to Direct Service partners from BIPOC, LGBTQ+, woman-owned and smaller family-owned farms and food related businesses
    • Systems Change, e.g.
      • Participate in regional and national networks/initiatives, following the lead of BIPOC-led organizations
      • Develop strategic campaigns to achieve key goals: increased access to SNAP benefits for boarding home residents, food quality and oversight, etc.
  • Continue to do our imperfect best
    • Learn from our mistakes
    • Listen to the community
    • Encourage organizations to work collaboratively